EDGEWATER, N.J.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Today, to mark International Women’s Day 2022, non-profit organization The Stereotype Project Foundation (TSPF) has announced its intention to build the world’s most comprehensive database of stereotypes, initially starting with those stereotypes associated with women. This database will serve as an educational resource and is designed to help drive cultural change within society.
This database is part of TSPF’s overall mission to challenge cultural stereotypes and improve the perceptions of various cultural and social groups around the world. TSPF is seeking to deconstruct the way we learn about people and cultures, while highlighting both the gaps and biased representation of social groups in the media. TSPF has decided that the first area of stereotyping it plans to tackle is women, since they represent almost half the population of the world, and the stereotypes affecting most other groups will also impact women. Once this initial project is underway, TSPF is planning to expand the database to cover various cultural and social groups including those groups based on race and sexual orientation.
This initial version of the database will index the various stereotypes associated with women, including the history, language, contemporary use, and social impact for each one. It will be built in collaboration with a series of academic partners, using a validated scientific methodology that studies the images and descriptions of women that are disseminated in the media. The aim is that it can be used to change thinking about stereotypes associated with women and shift perceptions of women in society.
Gian Franco, Founder and Chairman of TSPF explained, “We want to create a tectonic shift in how individuals see and relate to one another. In our society, the media plays a major role in how individuals build their perceptions of cultural and social groups. For many people, the images and descriptions they see in the media are their primary point of reference for the various characteristics of people belonging to other social groups and cultures. Our aim is to change the data they use in making judgment decisions when personal contact cannot be made.”
Once completed, the database will be made available online to serve as a resource for content creators, students, researchers and the general public. It will help to educate people about stereotypes, the language used to describe them, how inaccurate the stereotype may actually be and how its use has evolved over time or impacted society.
The database will create opportunities for persons within cultural and social groups to challenge, correct and add to the mainstream understanding of their group. It will also help to educate people outside of these groups and ensure that the language used in society does not propagate existing stereotypes. For example, the database will be used to create a program that analyzes content for problematic language prior to publishing and prevent media organizations and companies from inadvertently perpetuating stereotypes.
Gian added, “We felt that there was no better place to start than the stereotypes associated with women and are proud to announce our plans to create our first iteration of the database in this area. The theme of IWD2022 is Break The Bias and we believe that is exactly what this database can help to do. By providing the tools to help educate people and businesses about female stereotypes and what language is used to describe them, we can challenge the perceptions of women in society and help to drive women’s equality.”
Initial funding for the female stereotype database has been provided through a donation from community leader and philanthropist Sara Morgan. This will allow TSPF to begin the development of the female stereotype database, while in parallel actively sourcing additional donors and partners for this and the expansion into other cultural and social groups.
Sara Morgan said, “We are delighted to be the first supporter and anchor donor for TSPF. We live in a society that is filled with inappropriate stereotypes and none more so than those associated with women. I believe there is a real need to help people understand what is considered a stereotype about women in order to create a world with better perceptions of women.”
“This is critical work that needs to be done to overcome the negative stereotypes of women that exist today,” said Shelley Zalis, CEO of The Female Quotient (FQ). “The FQ is proud to be partnering with TSPF on this initiative and once this database is built, we will share it with as many organizations as possible to help affect change.”
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